How Diet and Nutrition Can Impact Your Health and Well-Being
Losing weight isn’t the only benefit of changing your diet. Your mental, physical, and intellectual health can improve from dietary changes as well. Let’s take a look at some of the ways diet is linked to your overall health and well-being.
Emotional and Mental Health
Eating a well-balanced, nutritious meals provides your body with the fuel it needs for you to live a healthy and happy life. Without enough energy from food, you won’t be able to complete daily tasks and enjoy yourself. Furthermore, eating together as a family can strengthen bonds, while eating out with friends can promote social connections. Healthy eating will also make you happier and more active. And regular activity and exercise is a must for disease prevention. Some studies have noted that a lack of vitamin B12, calcium, iron, and other nutrients are also linked to depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders.
A healthy diet can also lead to healthier teeth and gums and, therefore, better mental health. You may be surprised to know that oral and mental health are closely tied; if you neglect proper oral hygiene, it can lead to symptoms of depression, and individuals with depression are more likely to neglect their oral health. In addition to scheduling regular checkups with your dentist, make sure you avoid sugary foods and add antioxidants to your diet for a healthier smile.
According to the CDC, a lack of nutritious food can lead to poor performance in school for children. Inadequate nutrition and chronic hunger cause children to have difficulty focusing on tasks and absorbing new academic information. Children who are chronically hungry or don’t get enough nutrients can also have a weakened immune system, leading to more illnesses and absences in school. Even adults who are not eating nutritious foods may develop headaches, have trouble concentrating, and may become irritable, impacting work performance.
It is especially important for seniors to maintain a healthy diet in order to reduce the risk of developing dementia or other issues related to intellectual health. Eating healthy can enhance cognitive performance, memory retention, and decision making. Besides cutting down on sugar and salt, seniors may want to consider the MIND diet, which combines the Mediterranean diet with the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, to help keep the brain sharp.
Without nutritional food, your body doesn’t function properly, leading to a number of diseases and health issues. According to the Mayo Clinic, a diet rich in fruits, veggies, and whole grains can help maintain blood pressure and cholesterol levels, lowering your risk of heart disease. Consumption of oily fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids can also aid heart health. Research from Harvard indicates eating healthy foods can also lower your chances of getting type-2 diabetes.
A calcium-rich diet can help slow bone loss as you age. In addition to dairy products, you can also consume calcium in canned sardines and salmon, as well as dark green vegetables and calcium-fortified breakfast cereals and juices. Remember that vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, so get outside to get your vitamin D from the sun.
Science has also shown that foods high in antioxidants (such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene) can aid the prevention of some types of cancer. Antioxidants assist in neutralizing free radicals, which can damage cells. Therefore, you should add berries, kale, and other antioxidant-rich foods to your diet. On the other side, sugary drinks and processed foods have been associated with a greater risk of prostate cancer, while the consumption of lentils and beans have been linked with lowering the risk.
Cutting down on sugar, eliminating processed food, and eating more nutrient-rich meals may help you lose weight, but it can also do so much more than that. A well-balanced, nutritious diet can stave off illness and disease, improve your mental health and cognitive abilities, and allow you to live a happier and healthier life.
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